The Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ got a few leagues closer with last night’s mass meeting of guizers at the town’s Garrison Theatre.
A full house witnessed the usual formalities and the hand-over to next year’s Guizer Jarl Mark “Evans above”, who has been waiting in the wings since 2001.
Conspicuous by his absence was last year’s incumbent of the post Neil Robertson. “Due to global warming the penguin mating season had begun early” was the apparent reason for his no show, although he was represented by a cardboard cut-out complete with orange feet and bill. He did, however, send his apologies in a letter from the other side of the world.
Mr Robertson’s place was taken for the nicities by most recent ex-jarl Ivor Cluness who said: “I doot wir gotten awa wi hit again!” He continued: “I can say dat cos A’m no’ ment ta be here!”
He hoped jarl Evans would be “aff shift mair” and praised his work as torch foreman, during which time, it had to be said, he had even been held to account sometimes for the performance of the said torches in atrocious weather.
There then followed the election of a new committee member. There were three candidates who gave their spiels from the aisles.
In the end Brydon Gray, who showed the most humility, won the vote with James Leask not too far behind and Brydon Leslie coming third.
The next mass meeting will be on 19th January. If it is as well attended and ordered as this one, it will continue to show Up-Helly-A’ in its usual good light which of course proceeds the fiery variety.
• A full report of the meeting will appear in Friday’s Shetland Times.